Road Trip: Salt & Meadow

The new restaurant at the Tides Inn in Irvington is worth the drive.

Located a little over an hour outside of Richmond, the revamped Salt & Meadow restaurant inside The Tides Inn in Irvington is worth the drive for a weekend getaway.

The restaurant, helmed by chef de cuisine Kyle Perkins, opened in May, bolstered by recent hotel upgrades such as a $3.6 million shoreline restoration, room renovations, and updates to the restaurant space. It offers a menu that will appeal to regular visitors and new palates alike.

Inside the Salt & Meadow restaurant at the Tides Inn in Irvington, Virginia.

“The goal is to create something that impacts the community. It’s not just delicious food for tourists,” says Perkins.

Hailing from Twin Farms in Vermont, Perkins dived into learning about Southern food, and notes that the longer growing season in Virginia is advantageous for using as much local produce as possible; he looks forward to working with nearby farmers. “There are about 90 vendors in a 50-mile radius,” he says.

Salt & Meadow Chef de cuisine Kyle Perkins. Photo by Scott Elmquist

Perkins is also working in collaboration with staff horticulturist Matt Little and ecologist Will Smiley to utilize the staff grounds and provide the kitchen with oysters, herbs, fruit, and vegetables that can be found on site. The menu is in flux, due to the kitchen utilizing what is in season. Still, dishes contain ingredients such as garden peas and asparagus, Chesapeake Bay blue crabs, and Virginia black sea bass caught in local waters.

Working in Virginia has been a change for Perkins, although there are similarities that he recognized immediately, such as the amount of farmers markets and the sense of community. “There’s a big learning curve, but there are things I’m excited to work with here like pomegranate, figs, crab, and top water oysters, as opposed to a caged oyster, which are some of the best I’ve had,” he says.

Perkins is helped in the kitchen by Brandon Dameron, the executive sous chef who has worked at Tides Inn for two decades, originally starting as a dishwasher. “Brandon has been a huge help in getting me acclimated and he’s helped me to see a different side of cuisine,” Perkins adds.

A look at the bar. Photo by Kate Thompson.

The interior of Salt & Meadow also connects to the local environment. It has also been transformed, with an overhaul of the restaurant space that takes advantage of the waterfront views with floor-to-ceiling windows. Even the name of the restaurant is a nod to the waterways and farms around the property, which makes it nearly impossible for diners to be unaware of the connection between the menu and the surrounding area.

Salt & Meadow is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and also offers champagne and tequila tastings along with culinary classes such as oyster shucking.

Salt & Meadow is located at 480 King Carter Dr. in Irvington, Virginia. 

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